Let’s start with bird identification.
We all feel more in touch with things that we can call by name, don’t we? Being able to recognize and name the birds he sees has really increased my 4 year old’s interest in, and affection towards, them. He now talks about “my Cardinals”, “my Chickadees”, etc. (Yes, it’s very cute!)
A wonderful place to find pictures of birds, and listen to their songs is enature.com.
We snuggle up on the couch with the laptop, find our favorite birds, listen to their songs, and try to imitate them.
We also use Montessori-style 3-part cards to match up photos of “our” birds.
I created these; if you are interested they are available here. (There are many bird photos available in the public domain, and with a little searching you could create custom cards for birds in your neighborhood.) I set out a few cards at a time for Matthew and then he and I figure out what the name of each bird is (printed on the cards) as he finds the matching picture and label:
Did you know songbirds can sleep while holding onto a branch? They have a rear “toe” and three front “toes” and they use these to curl around a branch and “lock” on, making it almost impossible to move their body while they nap. Woodpeckers have two front “toes” and two back “toes” which help them hold on to a tree trunk in a vertical position while they hammer away and eat. Look at some close up pictures of bird feet (this site is a good place to start), and then form the different kinds of feet out of pipe cleaners:
Other details to explore are feathers, beaks, and the types of food each bird prefers.
Explore air pressure with this science experiment. Hang two balloons from a table about 2 inches apart. Have your child guess what will happen if he blows directly between them. They don’t move farther apart, as you might assume. They will move closer and bump one another. This is because the more rapid the air movement, the less air pressure there is. Birds are shaped and fly in a way that makes the air above them move more quickly than the air below them. Thus the air below them exerts more pressure and holds them aloft!
Here are five of our favorite bird-themed crafts…
1. A birdhouse sun catcher: Use craft sticks to form the frame. Tissue paper stuck to clear contact paper makes it colorful. We added a black circle for the hole, and some green paper at the bottom for grass. Matthew added a little birdie (made from tracing around his hands in the form of a bird) to the top of his bird house.
2. A paper bag nest.
Roll the bag inward until you get to the bottom:
Decorate with soft things – yarn, feathers, cotton, etc.:
3. A “shapes bird”.
Cut several shapes and use them to create a bird, then decorate:This is good shape recognition work for very little ones, and good scissor practice for preschoolers.
4. A bird collage.
One of our favorite passages from the Bible is Matthew 6: 26-29, in which we read that God takes care of the birds and flowers.
We looked through some magazines and found some bird pictures to cut out. We used these and tissue paper to create a “birds and flowers of the field” collage:Blue and green paper form the grass and sky, then tissue paper scrunched up and and dipped in glue makes the flowers. I love how bright and cheerful this is!
5. Bird feeders.
String popcorn to make a garland too! This is great fine motor skill practice.
Here are some of our favorite bird books:
Our Yard Is Full of Birds, by Anne Rockwell:
Bird Talk, by Ann Jonas:
About Birds: A Guide For Children, by Cathryn Sil:
A Nest Full of Eggs, by Priscilla Belz Jenkins:
Songs about birds:
Enjoy your spring and take time to enjoy the beauty of the birdies. 🙂
Find more preschool fun at Nicole’s blog, Tired, Need Sleep.
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